“Glamour girl writers” – Zhai Yongming

Robert Tsaturyan(Renmin University)

美女作家 – 翟永明
“Glamour girl writers” – Zhai Yongming

Chinese conference

If you are expecting to read a few pages of biographical details about the “Glamour girl writers”, then you are reading a wrong paper. Neither have I met a 美女waitress near one of our “Sichuan spicy noodle” restaurants who also writes poetry after her work. But I am going to speak about the women-born poetry and the womb where those poems grow. And the main she-roe is a Chinese contemporary poet Zhai Yongming (翟永明)
In the leisurely and elegant city of Chengdu Zhai Yongming has opened her book bar called “White Nights” (白夜). She spends hours at the bar and manages to write poetry that influence her whole generation of women poets in nowadays China.
China has always been a country of prejudices against women. As Confucius once said “Those who cannot be taught, cannot be instructed. These are women and eunuchs.”
Zhai Yongming disagreed with the Teacher. Back in the 1980s she published her first book of poetry called “Women” (女人), right after that many people in China called her the spokeswoman of the feminist poets. She again disagreed. She silently created her art.

Her Viewpoint

her viewpoint
shoots from one end of the bed
to the other to look as your body
makes its way out of
clothes mobile phone shoes

and then there are your fingers
slender outspoken
as if hearing once more
that clash of pelvis and daytime

everyone is neutered
everyone has lost their health
everyone is exposed outside their bodies

bound for a den of suffering
even dressed in armour your acupuncture points
could not be wrapped up at this moment
every inch of your skin could at last
grow lazy offered to the touch
and she will be happy for a time because of it

turn off the light evolution’s orgasm says time and again:
what you are prepared to offer up tonight
is not that important to her

(their children will witness
the whole process of birth:
amniotic fluid blood infant
charging out in uproar
no drop of sperm left for choice
no inch of room left for rest)

Translation: 2004, Simon Patton

她的视点
她的视点从床的一端
射向另一端 看着你的身体
从一大堆衣服 手机 鞋
和钥匙中钻出来
还有你的指头
它们修长 刚直
似乎能再次听见
盆骨和白昼的碰撞声
每个人都被阉割了
每个人的健康都遗失了
每个人都暴露在他的肉体之外
要去的地方是个苦难窝
即使穿上盔甲 此时也不能
把你的穴道包裹起来
你的每一寸肌肤终究会
慵懒起来 可供抚摸
她也会为此快活一番
关灯吧 进化论的高潮一再说:
你今晚准备献出来的
不是那么重要 对她而言
(他们的孩子会看见
生育的全过程
羊水 血 婴儿
唏里哗啦地冲出来
没留下一滴精子可供选择
没留下一寸空间可供栖息)

2001.7.4

In the following poem the experience of being a woman is the central issue. The poem itself is named “Her viewpoint”, that is to go further: “The viewpoint of a woman having an intercourse with a man (in order to have a child or not is the underlined issue) is different from the viewpoint of a man. But if we look the other layers of the poem, we will discover that Zhai Yongming is talking about the whole living process. You may think that every educated and even non-educated adult on this earth knows that men and women have different viewpoints on lovemaking. So now let’s analyze the poem piece by piece. I do agree that my viewpoint of analyzing a gender sensitive poem may be different of yours. In that case, you still have time change your mind and take a list of “Friendly criticism” to read instead.
her viewpoint shoots from one end of the bed
to the other to look as your body
makes its way out of
clothes mobile phone shoes
The poem starts with a figurative fight, in the bed. The mankind has witnessed the struggle of masculine and feminine viewpoints since the Woman appeared on earth. I mention this controversial opinion as a counterbalance to the first lines of the poem. The clothes, mobile phone, shoes are the items of an everyday darkness, a reminder that after all, they are waiting to be used. The viewpoint fight fades away with the simplicity of life.
and then there are your fingers
slender outspoken
as if hearing once more
that clash of pelvis and daytime
A milder and peaceful scene, without much to be said. After all, she accepts that the masculine love is a great weapon for/against the women. The clash of pelvis and daytime refers to the incompatibility of the above mentioned activities (psychological war and physical love). As Sylvia Plath once said sarcastically (or may be not): “Kiss me, and you will see how important I am.”
everyone is neutered
everyone has lost their health
everyone is exposed outside their bodies
These are the key lines of the poem, Zhang Yongming here accuses everyone (masculine) to be neutered (the removal of an animal’s reproductive organ). If we go deeper into this word, from a woman’s viewpoint, it may refer to an unapt man, without capable of doing any good (or even bad). Everyone has lost their health is the second emphasize of the word “neutered”, showing that the incapability of doing anything covers mainly, or wholly, the physical aspect.
turn off the light evolution’s orgasm says time and again:
what you are prepared to offer up tonight
is not that important to her
Never be sure about yourself. What you are prepared to offer up tonight, is not that important to her. A beautiful sentence. Strong enough to educate a whole generation of uneducated boys. Don’t be so sure about your abilities, unless you haven’t fully realized, that what you are ready to do is something that all the sophisticated animals are able to do. Here the writer turns of the light (with the hands of a man, of course), something we all are used to do. But she is not at all satisfied with all the process and what our education system teaches us. She is not satisfied what nature always seemed to point out. We witness a struggle of a strong and a weak woman inside one person.
(their children will witness
the whole process of birth:
amniotic fluid blood infant
charging out in uproar
no drop of sperm left for choice
no inch of room left for rest)
How terrible it is to be born, but, how much more terrible it would have been unborn. The whole process of birth will be witnessed by the children themselves. They will touch their bodies with disgust and surprise of the shining amniotic fluid, they will spit out the blood from their lips. The infants born, generation after generation. Turn off the light, says Zhai Yongming, we are going to decide the future of ours tonight. As it has always been, as thousands years before.
The simplicity of life makes its constant circle. Regardless your sex.

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